About Gouaches

Surely Fish Knows the Way

Surely Fish Knows the Way – gouaches on sumi on archival art board – 7″ x 5″

I’m in love with gouache paints!

The color is so rich, so deep that I often have to shade my eyes when I’m painting. The brightness evokes the gem-like way stained glass windows look with sun coming through them; deep sunsets, red dresses and cherries fresh from the tree.

I also like how not worrying about shading or depth perception – most of the paintings I do in this medium are very graphic, consisting of single areas of brilliant color.

“…Also referred to as bodycolor and opaque watercolor, the term “gouaches” was first used during the eighteenth century in France to describe the use of a translucent water-based paint that had been rendered opaque by the addition of white pigment or chalk bound together with a binding agent such as gum arabic.

Contrary to watercolor’s key characteristic of transparent luminosity, gouache is defined by its matte and opaque quality.

Today’s commercially available product known as gouache differs considerably from that used by earlier draftsmen. (Louis-Gabriel Moreau, Parc de Saint-Cloud, 1955.188; Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Trapeze at the Medrano Circus, 1934.34).

(info thanks to artmuseums.harvard.edu/sargentatharvard/drawingglossary.html)